So far in the National Statuary Hall, from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, and Arkansas, there have been two journalist/politicians (Bob Bartlett & Ernest Gruening); two military hero/politicians (Joseph Wheeler/Barry Goldwater); a Jesuit missionary (Father Eusebio Kino); one lawyer/politician (James Paul Clarke); one lawyer (Uriah M. Rose); and one disability rights advocate/socialist (Helen Keller).
Let’s see who comes up next!
Next in line is California.
The State of California is represented by statues of Ronald Reagan and Father Junipero Serra.
Ronald Reagan was the Governor of California from 1967 to 1975, after a career as an actor and union leader, and served as the 40th-President of the United States from 1981 to 1989.
Ronald Reagan was born in 1911 to a low-income family in Tampico, Illinois.
This photo of Tampico’s Main Street was notated as having been taken in 1905.
His first job was as a lifeguard at the Rock River in Lowell Park, where he was credited with saving 77 lives, in Dixon, Illinois…
…when he was attending Dixon High School.
In 1932, after graduating from Eureka College in Illinois, Reagan began working as a radio sports’ commentator in Iowa.
He moved to WHO radio in Des Moines as an announcer for the Chicago Cubs baseball games, where he created play-by-play accounts of games from basic descriptions that were wired as the games were in progress.
Reagan travelled with the Chicago Cubs to California in 1937.
He took a screen-test, which led to a 7-year contract with Warner Brothers, and he started his acting career as a B-actor.
His first movie was a starring role in “Love is on the Air” in 1937, and by the end of 1939, he had appeared in 19 movies.
Reagan played a double-amputee in the 1942 movie “Kings Row,” which made him a star.
Also in 1942, he was ordered into Active-Duty military service in San Francisco, having enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve in 1937, and commissioned as a second-lieutenant, and he never became a big, first-rank film star, even though he played the lead in numerous movies after his military service.
Ronald Reagan was first elected to Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild Union as an alternate member in 1941.
In 1946, he became 3rd Vice-President, and when the Union president and six board members resigned in March of 1947 due to conflicts-of-interest, Reagan was elected President of the Union, and relected six times, starting in 1947 and the last time he was elected was in 1959.
He was the Union President during the Hollywood Blacklist era during the early years of the Cold War, which was the practice of denying employment to entertainment industry professionals believed to be, or have been, Communist sympathizers.
He testified in front of the House Un-American Committee hearing in 1947 that a small group within the Screen Actors Guild was using “communist-like tactics” to steer Union policy.
Ultimately as a result of this Congressional hearing, the “Hollywood Ten” were cited for contempt of Congress, and blacklisted for refusing to answer questions about alleged involvement with the Communist Party.
Ronald Reagan moved into television in 1953, as host of the “General Electric Theater” for ten seasons, until 1962…
…and was a host and announcer of the “Tournament of Roses Parade” for ABC on January 1st of 1959.
His last television stint was as a host and performer for “Death Valley Days,” described as featuring true accounts of the American Old West, particularly in Death Valley.
It was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax company.
Some interesting side-notes about the Pacific Coast Borax Company that I have encountered in previous research.
Furnace Creek in Death Valley, which holds the records of both the highest-recorded ground and air temperature ever recorded on Earth, was the center of operations starting in 1890 for the Pacific Coast Borax Company and its 20-mule teams hauling wagon trains of borax across the Mojave Desert.
The Inn at Death Valley, formerly known as The Furnace Creek Inn, was said to have been constructed by the Pacific Coast Borax Company and opened on February 1st of 1927, operatimg for decades by the Fred Harvey Company, known for its “Harvey Houses” and other hospitality industry businesses alongside railroads in the western United States.
The reason given for this was the President of the Pacific Coast Borax Company, Richard C. Baker, wanted to open Death Valley to tourism, and at the same time, increase the revenue of the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad that was said to have been built originally by Francis Marion Smith for the purpose of shipping borax.
Ronald Reagan’s first wife was actress Jane Wyman – they married in 1940 and their divorce was finalized in 1949.
He married actress Nancy Davis in 1952.
When he became President of the United States in 1981, he was the first divorced President.
While Reagan was initially what was called a “Hollywood Democrat,” he moved to the right-wing in the 1950s, and became a Republican in 1962.
He emerged as a leading conservative spokesman in the Goldwater Presidential campaign of 1964, at which time he gained national attention in his speeches on behalf of Barry Goldwater.
In late 1965, Ronald Reagan announced his campaign to run for Governor of California in 1966. and defeated two-term Democratic Governor Pat Brown.
Reagan was Governor of California for two-terms, from 1967 to 1975.
His terms as Governor shaped the public policies he would pursue as President, like speaking out against the welfare state and advocating the ideal of less government regulation of the economy.
Ronald Reagan’s first presidential bid in 1976 Presidental campaign was unsuccessful, when he failed to secure the Republican Presidential nomination, which went to Gerald Ford, the incumbent who had become President when Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974 following the Watergate Scandal.
Gerald Ford lost the 1976 election to the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter.
He campaigned once again for the 1980 Presidential Election, where he faced Jimmy Carter against the backdrop of domestic concerns, and the on-going Iran-Hostage Crisis.
Reagan in his campaign stressed lowering taxes to stimulate the economy; less government interference in people’s lives; states’ rights; and a strong national defense.
Reagan and his running mate, George H. W. Bush, won a decisive victory of President Jimmy Carter.
Interesting to note that the American hostages in Iran were released minutes after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as the President of the United States on January 20th of 1981, after 444-days, of captivity…
…and that Just a little over two months after his inauguration, on March 30th of 1981, there was an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan by what was described as a lone gunman, John Hinckley Jr.
Hinckley was said to be seeking fame in order to impress actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed.
During Reagan’s two presidencies, he pursued policies, coined “the Reagan Revolution,” that reflected his beliefs in individual freedom; expanded the economy and military; and brought an end to the Cold War.
California’s other representative in the National Statuary Hall is Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary and Roman Catholic priest.
He was credited with establishing the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda in Mexico, said to have been built between 1750 and 1760 a UNESCO World Heritage Site…
…as well as the first nine of twenty-one missions in California, from San Diego to San Francisco from 1770 to 1782.
Junipero Serra was beatified in 1988 by Pope John Paul II over the denunciations of Native American tribes that accused him of heading a brutal colonial subjugation.
Then in 2015, Pope Francis canonized him, and he became Saint Junipero Serra, the first saint to be canonized on U. S. soil at the National Basilica in Washington, D. C.
Serra was nicknamed the “Apostle of California” for his missionary efforts, but before and after his canonization, his reputation and missionary work was condemned for reasons given like mandatory conversions of the native population to Catholicism and atrocities committed against them.
That’s what they say about him anyway!
Next, the two statues representing the State of Colorado are those of Florence R. Sabin and Jack Swigert.
Florence R. Sabin was an American medical scientist.
As a pioneer for women in science, she was the first woman to become a professor at a medical college in the Department of Anatomy at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1902…
…the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1925…
…and the first woman to head a department at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in 1925, when she became head of the Department of Cellular Studies and where her research focused on the lymphatic system; blood vessels & cells; and tuberculosis.
The Rockefeller University was founded in 1901 by John D. Rockefeller, and was America’s first biomedical institute.
Florence R. Sabin was born in Central City, Colorado, in 1871, to a mining engineer father and schoolteacher mother.
Her mother died in 1878, and she and her sister went to live with their uncle in Chicago, before moving to live with their grandparents in Vermont.
In 1885, she enrolled in the Vermont Academy at Saxton River, where she was able to develop her interest in science.
She attended Smith College in Massachusetts, and graduated in 1893 with her Bachelor’s degree.
In 1896, Sabin enrolled in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, which had opened in 1893, and she graduated in 1900.
Her two major projects were on producing a 3D model of a newborn’s brain stem, which became the focus of the 1901 textbook “An Atlas of the Medulla and Midbrain,” and the second was on the development of the lymphatic system in the embryo.
In her retirement, she became involved in Public Health in the State of Colorado at the invitation of the Governor at the time.
Among other things, as a result of her work, the “Sabin Health Laws” were passed, modernizing public health care in Colorado by providing more beds to treat Tuberculosis, which led to a reduction in the number of cases.
Florence R. Sabin died at the age of 81 in October of 1953, and her remains were interred in the Fairmount Mausoleum at the Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.
Jack Swigert is the other Coloradan represented in the National Statuary Hall, an American astronaut and Air Force pilot, who was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives for Colorado’s 6th District, but died in 1982 from complications of cancer before taking office.
Jack Swigert, Jr, was born in Denver in 1931. His father was an ophthalmologist.
He grew up near the Colorado National Guard’s Combs (also known as Lowry) Field, and loved watching planes take-off and land, and decided that was what he wanted to be doing.
By the age of 16, he was a licensed private pilot.
Jack Swigert attended Regis Jesuit High School…
…and East High School in Denver, from which he graduated in 1949.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1953…
…a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1965…
…and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford in 1967.
Following Swigert’s graduation from the University of Colorado in Boulder, he joined the U. S. Air Force and graduated from the Pilot Training Program and Gunnery School at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
He was subsequently assigned as a fighter pilot in Japan and Korea during the Korean War, and survived his plane crashing into a radar unit on a Korean airstrip in 1953.
After completing his tour of active duty in the Air Force, Swigert served as a fighter pilot in Massachusetts (1957 – 1960) and Connecticut Air National Guards (1960 – 1965).
During this same time period, he was an engineering test pilot for aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, which is headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Then, in 1966, Swigert was accepted into NASA’s Astronaut Corps, and he became a specialist on the Apollo Command Module.
He was a member of Apollo 7’s astronaut support crew, the first crewed Apollo flight, from October 11 to 22 of 1968. He was the launch capsule communicator and worked on the Mission’s operational aspects.
Then, when the Apollo 13 moon mission launched on April 11th of 1968, Swigert was one of the three astronauts on-board.
This is what we are told.
The mission was the third-crewed lunar landing attempt, but it had to be aborted after an oxygen tank ruptured in the space-craft’s service module.
The three astronauts on-board, Swigert, Jim Lovell and Fred Haise, travelled around the moon and returned safely to earth on April 17th.
They received the Presidential Medal of Freedom the next day.
NASA Director of Flight Crew Operations, Deke Slayton, recommended Jack Swigert to be one of the command module pilots for the Apollo-Soyuz joint-project with the Soviet Union.
He was removed from the project, however, when it was discovered that Swigert was somehow involved with what was called the “Apollo 15 postal covers incident,” where unauthorized postal covers that had been taken into space for a West German stamp dealer by the Apollo 15 crew and autographed in exchange for payment.
Shortly thereafter, Jack Swigert went to Washington, DC, to become the Executive Director of the Committee on Science and Astronautics for the U. S. House of Representatives.
Swigert left the Committee in 1977 to enter politics.
He unsuccessfully ran for the U. S. Senate in 1978, when he was defeated by the better-known Congressman Bill Armstrong.
Swigert ran for the U. S. House of Representatives in the newly-created 6th-District of Colorado in February of 1982.
Around the same time, he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his right nasal passage, which he disclosed to voters, and underwent radiation treatment from which he was expected to make a full-recovery.
In September of 1982, he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer.
He won the election in November of 1982, and died of respiratory failure on December 27th of 1982, seven-days before the beginning of his Congressional term, at the age of 51.
Roger Sherman and Jonathan Trumbull are the two representatives for the State of Connecticut in the National Statuary Hall.
Roger Sherman was an early American Statesman and lawyer from Connecticut who was one of the Founding Fathers.
Sherman was the only person to sign all four of the great state papers of the United States – the Continental Association, an agreement adopted by the First Continental Congress on October 20th of 1774 in Philadelphia…
…the Declaration of Independence, on July 4th of 1776 at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia…
…the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, an agreement signed by the thirteen original states as its first frame of government, also during the Second Continental Congress, on November 17th of 1777…
…and the Constitution on June 21st of 1788, the Supreme Law of the United States.
Sherman was born in Newton, Massachusetts, in April of 1721, where he received his early education in grammar school and his father’s library.
He spent time learning the shoemaker’s trade when he was young.
Then after his father’s death in 1743, Roger Sherman and his family moved to New Milford, Connecticut, where he and his brother opened the town’s first store.
He rapidly became one of the town’s leading citizens, becoming involved in civil and religious affairs.
Though Sherman had no formal training in the law, he was encouraged to read for the bar exam, and admitted to the bar in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1754.
From 1755 to 1758 and 1760 to 1761, he was chosen to represent New Milford in the Connecticut House of Representatives.
Sherman was appointed as the Treasurer of Yale College, and awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree.
Sherman was elected Mayor of New Haven in 1784, he was Mayor until his death in 1793.
Sherman died in July of Typhoid fever 1793, and was first buried in the New Haven Green.
In 1821, Sherman’s remains were relocated to the Grove Street Cemetery.
Hmmm…the symbolism appears to be Egyptian in this photo of the entrance to the Grove Street Cemetery!
The other statue for Connecticut is that of Jonathan Trumbull, an American politician and statesman who served as Governor of Connecticut from October 10th of 1776 to May 13th of 1784, and was one of two governors to have served for a British Colony and an American State, the other being Nicholas Cooke of Rhode Island.
Trumbull College at Yale was named after him…
…as well as Trumbull, Connecticut…
…and Fort Trumbull, near the mouth of the Thames River on Long Island Sound in New London, Connecticut, with the present fortification said to have been built between 1839 and 1852.
Jonathan Trumbull was born in Lebanon, Connecticut in 1710.
He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in 1727.
He became a merchant with his father in 1731, and then from 1733 to 1740, he was a delegate to the Connecticut General Assembly, and Speaker of the House from 1739 to 1740.
He became the Governor of Connecticut in 1769 upon the death of Governor William Pitkin, for whom he was Deputy Governor from 1766 – 1769.
Trumbull was a friend and advisor of General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, and served as the Continental Army’s Paymaster General (Northern Department) in the spring of 1778.
In addition to continuing on as Governor of Connecticut until 1784, Trumbull was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1782…
…and elected as an honorary member of the Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati in 1784, a fraternal, hereditary society founded in 1783 to commemorate the American Revolutionary War.
He died in 1785 in Lebanon, Connecticut, and is buried in the old cemetery there.
The last state I am going to look at in this post is Delaware, represented by John M. Clayton and Caesar Rodney.
John M. Clayton was a lawyer and politician from Delaware.
A member of the Whig Party, he served in the Delaware General Assembly, and was a U. S. Senator from Delaware and U. S. Secretary of State.
John M. Clayton was born in Dagsboro, Delaware in 1796, where the Clayton Theater that was named after him is located today, the last-remaining, first-run, single-theater in the State of Delaware.
Clayton studied in Berlin, Maryland…
…and Milford, Delaware, places his parents moved to when he was a young man.
His boyhood home was what is known today as the Parson Thorne Mansion in Milford, which has on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971.
It was said to have been built between 1730 and 1735.
Clayton graduated from Yale in 1815, and studied law at the Litchfield Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut, the first independent law school established in America for reading law…
The Litchfield Law School was founded by lawyer, educator and judge Tapping Reeve, and it was a proprietary school that was unaffiliated with any college or university.
Tapping Reeve later became Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1814, and his book “Law of Baron and Femme” published in 1816 became the premiere American treatise on family law for much of the 19th-century, with revisions and republication in 1846, 1867 and 1888.
John M. Clayton started his own law practice in the state capital of Dover in 1819.
Clayton built a mansion on land he started cultivating in 1844 near New Castle, Delaware, and named it Buena Vista.
It became one of the most productive estates in this region.
It was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
Clayton first entered Delaware politics in 1824 when he was elected to the Delaware House of Representatives.
He was appointed Delaware Secretary of State from December of 1826 to October of 1828.
He was a conservative who became leader of the faction that lead to the development of the Delaware Whig Party, a party which promoted traditional conservatism in the U. S. in the middle of the 19th-century.
Clayton was first elected to the U. S. Senate in 1829, where he served until 1836.
Clayton served as Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court from January of 1837 to September of 1839, and served another term in the Senate from 1845 to 1849.
Then on March 8th of 1849, Clayton became the U. S. Secretary of State inthe administration of President Zachary Taylor, where his most notable accomplishment was the negotiation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850 with the British Minister Sir Henry Bulwer-Lytton, guaranteeing the neutrality and encouragement of lines of passage across the isthmus at Panama.
Clayton’s tenure as Secretary of State was short because President Zachary Taylor died a short time into his administration.
Zachary Taylor was elected president in 1849, and he died in July of 1850, allegedly after consuming copious amounts of raw fruit and iced milk at a July 4th fundraising event at the Washington Monument, became severely ill with a digestive ailment, and died several days later.
Clayton was elected to the U. S. Senate one-more time in 1853 and served until his death in 1856.
In one of his notable speeches during this time, delivered on June 15th of 1854, he spoke against President Franklin Pierce’s veto of the Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane, which would have ceded public lands for the benefit of the “insane, blind, deaf, and dumb” with proceeds going to the states to build and maintain asylums.
The bill remained vetoed by the president, which established a precedent for federal non-participation in welfare that lasted over 70-years.
Caesar Rodney is represented by Delaware’s other statue.
He was an American Founding Father, lawyer and politician, and like Connecticut’s Roger Sherman, was a signer of the 1774 Continental Association and the 1776 Declaration of Independence, and the President of Delaware from 1778 to 1781 during the American Revolution.
Rodney was born in 1728 in St. Jones Neck in Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware.
Caesar Rodney was the grandson of William Rodney, who had emigrated to the American Colonies in 1681 to 1682, along with William Penn, who founded the Pennsylvania Colony.
The Rodneys were considered prosperous members of the local gentry.
Byfield, the 849-acre farm that Caesar Rodney was born on, earned sufficient income from the sale of wheat and barley to the Philadelphia and West Indies markets to provide cash and available time that allowed the family members to participate in the social and political life of Kent County.
For schooling, Rodney attended the Latin School and the College of Philadelphia (now known as the University of Philadelphia) until his father’s death in 1746.
Upon his father’s death, Rodney’s guardianship was entrusted to Delaware Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Ridgely by the Delaware Orphan’s Court.
When Caesar Rodney was 27, he was elected to Sheriff of Kent County and served in that position for three-years, and subsequently served in a series of positions including Register of Wills; Recorder of Deeds; Clerk of the Orphan’s Court; Justice of the Peace and judge in the lower courts.
Rodney was a delegate to the Continental Congress between 1774 and 1776, and a leader in the Delaware Committee of Correspondence, and was present when the Delaware Assembly voted to sever all ties with the British Parliament and King.
As mentioned previously, he was a signer of both the Continental Association and Declaration of Independence.
He became the “President of Delaware” in March of 1778 and served in that position until November of 1781 during the American Revolutionary War.
In the later years of his life, Caesar Rodney was afflicted with facial cancer, for which experienced expensive and painful medical treatments that did not work, and was the cause of his death in 1784.
I am going to end this part of the series on the National Statuary Hall, and in the next part will be looking at the statues representing the states of Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Idaho.